CB250RS Parts Transplant – Front Wheel Swap, Mufflers, Some Fiddly Bits, And Temporary Livery

I had a busy weekend reattaching things!

First  up, I wanted to swap out the front wheel as the tyre was quite flat, the spokes are rusty, and the brake disc looks almost as grooved as a record from the same era as the bike!

Fortunately the donor bike had a front wheel with a nice firm front tyre, very little rust on the spokes, and a brake disc in much better condition.

After removing the castle nut and split pin from the left side of the axle, I was a little puzzled as to how to removed the axle, as I hadn’t looked at the right side closely before. The axle is held onto the right fork with a similar type of bracket to those used to to hold the the handlebar to the triple tree and the  to hold  the master brake cylinder in place on the handlebar.

Once the bolts had been removed, it was remarkably easy to remove the wheel and axle

I removed the brake pads, as I was planning to transfer them to the other set of calipers along with the wheel.

Next it was time to remove the sub-par wheel and put it aside to think about what it had done

The front brake pad retaining pins had other ideas about my plan to replace the front brake pads, so I gave up on that for now. I applied a fresh coating of grease to the axle on the good wheel, maneuvered it into place and loosely fitted the castle nut.

After tightening the axle clamp on the right side, I secured the castle nut and replaced the split pin.

I cleaned up the spare speedo cable gear and found the speedo cable. The retaining screw was missing from the one I had fitted with the wheel, so I used the one from the spare.

Speedo cable fitted at both ends!

While I was concentrating on the clocks, I fitted the tacho cable too.

It was getting somewhat late by this stage, so I left further work until the next day.

First order of business the next day was to make sure I put oil in, so I don’t forget before attempting to start the bike again! I opted for generic supermarket 10w50, as it’s cheap and doesn’t have come with fancy friction modifiers and additives that make most modern motor oils unsuitable for wet clutches. Regular readers may remember these as the “attachments” referred to in the CBF250 Shop Manual while troubleshooting Jack’s clutch slippage!

After filling up the oil enough for a cold engine, I popped the black tank and the red duck-tail and seat on, to remind myself how close I was to completion.

I removed the chain from the donor bike and after a quick inspection and a shake I decided not to re-use it. The black crescents in the middle image are all the perished o-rings that fell out when I shook the chain gently a few times. The close-up on the right shows how few o-rings are left.

I decided to keep the clip-style master link as a spare in case of chain emergencies if I don’t have a chain riveter handy.

I figured even without a chain it would be useful to have a working rear brake again, so I started with the stay bar.


Moving further back, I saw the right side mounting plate was missing.

I realised the rear wheel stay bar wasn’t going to do much if the rear wheel wasn’t securely attached, so I removed the parts I needed from the donor bike.

I fitted the axle stopper plate, chain tensioning bolt and rear brake arm.

I fitted the rear brake rod – making sure all springs were in the right places – and reconnected the.rear wheel stay bar.

At last, it was time to fit the mufflers! First, I needed a pair of pillion pegs, as they also have retaining brackets for the mufflers. One was still  attached to the donor bike, so off it came!

I placed the mufflers on either side of the bike, ready to fit. I opted not to fit new gaskets just yet, as I’ll need to remove the mufflers again in order to access the rear axle when I fit a new rear sprocket. I also fitted the rear brake lever and stopper plate.


Right muffler in place.

Connecting the muffler to the cylinder head was trickier than I expected, as one of the mounting bolts is significantly shorter than the other. It seems the mounting plate on this side has been replaced with one thinner one than the standard part at some stage to compensatate.

I reattached the cylinder head mounting bracket and tidied the cables through it  while I had the socket wrench out.

Left muffler in place.

No problems with  connecting the muffler on this side, as the threaded rods are standard length on this side of the cylinder head.

I decided to mount the rear indicators after straightening the mounting hardware. First up were the grommets.

The metal collars for the mounting screws went in next.

The mounting arms were screwed on and earth wires run through the holes in the rear fender/mudguard.

Indicators were attached and their cables run through the mounting arms and through the holes in the fender/mudguard.

Finally the cables were plugged in and the luggage compartment replaced on the rear fender.

Finally, I replaced the tank, duck-tail and seat and called it a day.

Not bad for a weekend’s work!.

All that remains now before finally getting a roadworthy check are swapping the front brake calipers so the pads match the disc, then replacing the mirrors, fuel line, front mudguard, front sprocket, front chain guards/covers, rear sprocket and chain!

I’ll also be re-fitting some side panels eventually , of course!

I’ve also been researching options for restoring the original colour scheme and livery – I’ll post more on that in a future update.


Cleaning Rusted Chrome, A New Speedo For Scarlet And Regulator/Rectifier Woes

Back in October, I did a fair bit of work on Scarlet.

One afternoon, I decided to polish the mufflers.After spending most of the day polishing with NEV’R DULL and aluminium foil, this was the result.

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There’s still a bit of a way to go on that…

The same month, I managed to track down a genuine NOS (New Old Stock) replacement speedometer for Scarlet. As you may recall, I had partially repaired the speedo twice already and it seemed to get stuck quite regularly.


The parcel in which the speedo arrived was well-packed to prevent damage. Inside I found the original box, containing a speedometer with 600 metres on the odometer.

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The first order of business was to remove the old speedo.

After removing the ignition switch, I took out the mounting screws from the rear of the instrument panel.

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Here are the two speedos side by side for comparison. Guess which one is the new one!


Shortly after the photo above was taken, I dropped the old speedo and broke its face.


Not to worry, I still had the new one!


I fitted the new speedo into the instrument panel and replaced the front cover.20141025_100740

Ignition switch back on the back!


Here it is mounted and ready to use.


Just in case I need a speedo for Eric or Bruiser, I glued the old one back together.


Later in October, I received what I thought was a simple plug-in aftermarket regulator/rectifier for Scarlet.

First up, I removed the old one.


The new regulator/rectifier looked pretty much like the old one at first.


The seller had listed it as being a direct replacement for several models of older Hondas, including the CB250RS. Unfortunately, on closer inspection I found that the connections were completely different and one wire was missing completely!


The old one went back on for now. I’m still looking for a suitable replacement or NOS regulator/rectifier. The lesson learnt here is to ALWAYS check what the old or missing part should look like before ordering a replacement.

Wheels, Sprockets And A Chain (Plus Some Electrics)

On |Sunday afternoon I decided it was time to try a replacing the fuel hose and spark plug in Scarlet, put a chain on her and attempt fixing the lights.

First up, I put some chain lube on Bruiser’s chain and set about locating the master link. There turned out to be several of them!

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I found a section that had two master links in a row, prised the clip off one and removed the chain.

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Ae I will be re-using Bruiser’s chain, then plan was to remove the rear wheels and just swap the front and rear sprockets over until I get around to replacing them altogether, as it’s generally recommended to replace the sprockets with the chain.

Removing the rear wheel from Bruiser was easy enough, I just needed to remember to disconnect the rear brake and brake tension bar from the right side of the wheel.

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It was then time to remove Scarlet’s rear wheel. The first thing I discovered was that the mufflers I’d just put on needed to be removed again to get the wheel off.

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That done, I set about removing the wheel. THis turned out to far more difficult than Bruiser’s had been. One reason for this was probably that the axle had been put in backwards, as some of you may have noticed from the photos above.

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The small sledgehammer came in quite handy for pushing the axle through the wheel hub with another axle.

I compared Scarlet’s wheel with Bruiser’s and noticed a major difference in the style of sprocket and the mounts for it – I suspect Scarlet’s rear wheel was replaced with a similar one at some stage!

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I noticed the damage to the hub on Bruiser’s wheel and decided to pull Eric’ rear wheel off and compare it – if it was the same as Bruiser’s I’d just stick the sprocket on it.

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I had a go at removing the sprocket, then realised that it was on too tightly for me to remove without damaging the hex drive bolts and or standard nuts on the rear. I also noticed that the tyre was quite worn and the brake drum had no brake pads at all, so I decided I’d cut my losses and just fit Bruiser’s wheel to Scarlet.

During the re-fitting, I discovered something that would have made life a lot easier while taking the wheels off. There are little metal plates that fit into a gap in the swingarm that is covered by the chain tensioners. Removing these meant that I could assemble the entire axle and simply slot it into place!

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After that, the plates slip into the gaps and hold the axle in.

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The wheel slides back down.

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The chain tensionsers flip back up and hold the plates in place when tightened. Very clever design!

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Next up, I removed the front sprockets from Bruiser and Scarlet

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Bruiser’s sprocket is on the left, Scarlet’s is on the right.

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Even though Scarlet’s original front sprocket is in better condition, I’m re-using an old chain so I’m keeping the sprockets with it. I’ll keep the other one as a spare for now.

With the sprockets fitted it was time to fit the chain and a new split pin to keep the axle nut in the right place.

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With the chain done, I moved on to the fuel hose.

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At the top is the old fuel hose, which was a bit shorter than it should have been.

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The old hose is on the left, the new one on the right. A tighter fit should prevent fuel leaks at the tap and air leaks at the carburetor!

Next up, I moved on to the spark plug. The old spark plug versus the new one

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The new plug and fuel hose in place.

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I decided to check Scarlet’s air filter and found it in a sorry state – the foam filter element was missing completely!

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I checked Bruiser’s air box and found the filter there was complete and even nicely oiled!

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I transferred the filter to Scarlet, then set about swapping the throttle and right combination switch with the one from Eric, as the knob was missing from the light switch and it had the original handgrip.

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I had to take the tank off to disconnect the throttle cables and my new fuel hose just popped straight off, so I cut a slightly longer piece and made sure the circlips were properly fitted this time!

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As I had noticed a missing connector for the front wiring assembly that I can’t easily replace with the same connector, , I decided to make my own magical mystery cable to do the same job.

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By this point I thought I had everything connected, so I fired Scarlet up to test the lights. Scarlet now starts on the second or third kick most times with the new spark plug, so it was definitely worth fitting!

Strangely, none of the lights were working apart from the brake for some reason.After having another look at the cabling on Bruiser and Eric, I realised I had missed the connector for the left switch assembly. It turned out to be still behind the headlight case, so I pulled it through and connected it.

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After a quick test, I found that high beam wasn’t working. Checking the bulb showed it had a blown high beam element, so I swapped the headlights over and retested – Bingo!

For some reason the indicators still don’t work properly – that’s a task for later in the week, along with fitting the brand new battery, idle adjustments and/or carburetor servicing.

Nix’ Box Back In ‘n’ Bits Back On

With no parts arriving today, I decided it was time to get Nix’ air/battery box back in.

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Having checked the Service Manual I knew I’d need to take the back of her frame off to do this.
First up, off with the seat!

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Rear side fairings off

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Next up – the tank

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Obviously the battery comes out next!

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Ok, now this cross-bar is in the way of the carbs for re-fitting. Off with it, too!

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Tail light is next.

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Rear mudguard . What’s with the wiring for the rear indicators?

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The rectifier needs to come off the wheel arch next!

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Easy enough…

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Not sure what this is – maybe the fuse box? It’s in the way regardless, off it comes!

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Radiator reservoir – there are a lof bits in the way here…

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Off it comes!

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All the little electrical bits from the other side…

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Meh, they’re detached, that’ll do!

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There were a couple of springs for the seat clip here. Could have sworn I took a photo of them?

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Right, all 6 bolts and the other bits it’s attached to removed, I can finally move this part of the frame out of the way!

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The box that needs to go back in…

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Halfway there…

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Second half in! Just the lid to go now…

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Now to put it all back together!

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There were extra Magical Mystery Wires attached that didn’t seem to do much apart from split off the rear indicators for some reason. I decided they could go – put them aside just in case, though…

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I figured it was time to look at getting her front fairings back on.
I was reminded of that old Pedders suspension ad at this point

“As you can see here, the left side is fine…”

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“…but on the right side, we have a problem.”

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“Well, Mr. McFarlane?”
“She’s in your hands, Mr. Pedder.”

(In other words, It looks like there a few repairs needed on the fairings)

Left, centre and right front fairings from inside:

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Detail of the crack and missing tabs on the right front fairing

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Someone seems to have decided that using a screwdriver was taking too long here:

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The mount is missing completely on the left side…

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But at least two of the mounting tabs are still attached!

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Closer view of the left fairing

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And the right one

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And finally, the tabs that were broken off:

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I’m not sure if the fairings are worth fixing or if I should replace them.

While full sets of aftermarket fairings are available, a new set would dramatically increase the total spent on Nix so far.

Another option is to get another cheap ZZ-R250 with intact fairings and and either use Nix as a donor bike or take the fairings off the other one. As I’ve only found one reasonably priced one so far, this would mean switching to a bright yellow bike or mixing and matching black and yellow. Not sure how I feel about that…

A few other things I forgot to take pictures of:

  • Tested the lights.
  • Adjusted the front brake light switch sensitivity.
  • High tension wire from the ignition coil to the spark plug was not connected –   reconnected it.
  • Speedo cable was disconnected – reconnected it.
  • Reconnected fuel hoses to tank.
  • Inside top parts of front fairing seem to be missing.

Tomorrow I plan on checking if she starts with fuel in the tank. I’ll post a video if I’m successful – wish me luck!

Eric Gets Wired For Action and Bulks Up!

This morning I decided it was time to get Eric’s air box, battery box and wiring loom in place.

First up – off with the tank and check the components underneath!

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Looks like the regulator is there so I might not need my spare after all.
Hang on, what’s that on the left?

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Can’t quite make it out yet…

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Ah! Looks like someone’s chopped off a wire instead of figuring out where it’s connected!
Will have to check that later…

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On to the battery box! here it is – popped the CDI box in its holder while I was at it.

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Here’s where it isn’t but should be:

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Fits well enough. I’ll have to find some screws for it though.

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Moving on to the air box. Here it is:

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And here’s where it should be but isn’t:

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It was a bit of a tight squeeze so I took the cover off to maneuver it in. Looks like I’ll need a new air filter element too!

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Only two screws for the cover, will need to look through my bolt kit or my box of random nuts, bolts and screws for something suitable later.

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So with the hard part done, I put the battery box back in.
Found some Phillips head bolts in my box of random nuts, bolts and screws to attach it with (I ended up using these to hold the air box in too).

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On to the wiring loom!

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I figured I should find the other end of the chopped-off wire before attaching the wiring loom.

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Ahh. there it is! Attached behind the ignition coil.

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While I was there, I figured I’d check the spark plug.
It was only finger-tight but looks serviceable enough for now.

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Back to that stray wire. Looks like I’ll need to get the ignition coil off to take it out.2014-05-18 12.29.38

The double-ended bolt is attached behind the regulator, so that comes off too!

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The double-ended bolt with the washer and that pesky wire, then everything I had to take off to get to it!

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Since the regulator and its bracket were off I figured may as well save the bolts from it and put the spare on, as it came with the bracket. Also pictured is the wiring loom halfway through installation.

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After threading the cables through the headlight holder I found that it looks like the block for the ignition switch is missing – may need to find a suitable connector and check the wiring diagram later!

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I realised I needed the rear mudguard on to finish threading the wiring loom at this point. I used the bolts I’d saved earlier from the regulator bracket to screw it to the chopped-off section of frame.

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Since I’d already put the mudguard back on, I decided to put the seat and the rest of the panels on after I reattached the tank to see how he looked:

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And from the left side:

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And he’s starting to look like an actual bike instead of half of one!
Sure, he still has no working lights, no brakes and no ignition and a missing muffler but he’s coming together nicely.

I also bought a battery for him but will wait until the electrical system is closer to complete before I put in the acid and pre-charge it.

Eric Gets a Facelift Despite Spiders

Collected my parcels from the post office this morning and found that they contained these:

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Indicators are for further down the track, so I concentrated on the light switches and headlight mount today.

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First up I had to get the screws out of the light switch assembly:

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Screws are out, I’ll just open it up – huh? What’s this?

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Yep, the switch assembly that had just arrived from the UK was full of spider webs and bits of dead spider! Good thing I’m not arachnophobic!
Cleaned up ok though:

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So the left side of the handlebars has gone from this:

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to this:

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That’s right, the massive thumb was removed and replaced with a light switch set!

Attached the clutch cable and discovered that the adjustment screw and lock nut are missing:

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Decided that’s a problem for another day and moved on to the headlight bracket.
Firstly the speedo and tacho needed to come off:

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Next the handlebars need to come off, so the top rubber piece can sit under them:

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Time to get the cables out of the way:

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And the bracket is on:

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Wait – it looks like the choke would fit just there!

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Put the left mirror on and used some spare wire to hold the brake cylinder in place until I can get the mounting bracket sorted:

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I think he looks a lot happier now!

While I was finding things that weren’t attached, I got the throttle cables back in place at the carburetor end as well:

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So now the front end is looking a lot more complete!

View from the right:

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And from the left:

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First work on Eric

While taking the photos for the last post, the postman arrived with 2 parcels, so I decided to get started on a few basic things that needed attention.

Speedo cable

Before I ordered a replacement, the speedo cable looked like this:

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While the cable itself is in good condition, it’s missing the sleeve.

Fortunately the replacement arrived today.

Here they are side by side for comparison:

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Replacement was particularly easy, as there was a single screw holding it on to the front wheel.

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Cable run up to the handlebars with the tacho cable:

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Front Brakes

Next, I attached the front brake hose. Unfortunately the master brake cylinder arrived with no front mounting bracket (add to the list of parts to order):

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Mirrors and Instruments

I attached the cables to the speedo and tacho, added a mirror to the brake cylinder and Eric is starting to actually look like a real bike again:

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At this point it started raining so I got a couple of shots from further back and packed everything up for the day. I forgot to get photos, but I also swapped the throttle cables over from the replacement throttle assembly.

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That’s it for Eric this weekend. Hopefully the bolt kit will arrive soon and I can start putting the back of the bike together soon!